Southern Students Raise Record Amount for Ocean of Love During Dance Marathon

Mar 28, 2018
Photo by: Supplied photo Southern Regional High School students take part in one of the many line dances, done at the top of each hour throughout the annual 18-Hour Dance Marathon on March 17-18.

The “Glow Big or Go Home” theme with the cool, neon vibe made this year’s 18-Hour Dance Marathon at Southern Regional High School an event to remember. Or maybe it was the added effect of having some characters from a galaxy far, far away show up. Or perhaps it was the entertainment acts that kept the 9/10 gymnasium pumping.

Either way, the annual dance party organized by the student council and Key Club, used as a means to raise money for Ocean of Love, was a hit. And for a second straight year, the funds raised reached a record-breaking level.

“We were looking for a theme that would be exciting, that would make the event look cool and appealing to our peers, and really make things a little more interesting for the 18 hours we were going to be there,” said Key Club President Chris Melillo. “We spent a lot of time on the decorations. And when the lighting crew put on the black-light effect, everything in the room glowed, and we knew that the dancers that were soon to come were really going to like the vibes given by the neon theme.”

Featuring a prize table filled with sports memorabilia, gift sets from local stores, and gift cards for entertainment venues, restaurants and more, the 18 hours of music and dancing was mixed with plenty to keep everybody busy – from corn hole to ping pong, and even Nintendo games. The organizing clubs set the mood by converting the gym into a “glowing neon room filled with glow-in-the-dark banners, balloon towers and black lights that made almost anything shine.”

Held from 4 p.m. March 17 to 10 a.m. the next morning, the event also featured performances from Skylar The Magician, the Ovations dance team and band Pictures of Nowhere and Starlight Performing Arts, along with the typical arsenal of DJs providing the music in between special appearances and for the top-of-the-hour line dance, done to Cascada’s hit single “Evacuate the Dancefloor.” And somehow, student council adviser Steve Derion arranged for the arrival of several Star Wars characters.

“The Star Wars characters were pretty cool,” Melillo said. “Besides R2-D2 roaming around the dance floor, we also were visited by a stormtrooper and Darth Vader.”

This year’s marathon had an estimated 150 dancers and they raised $6,110 for Ocean of Love, breaking last year’s mark of $6,002.48.

“Going into the dance marathon, everyone’s main goal was to break last year’s record and donate over $6,000 to Ocean of Love,” said student council President Kyra Zdep. “We all stuck to the motto ‘dance for a cause’ and worked hard to achieve our goal. I’m so proud that we raised $6,110 for a great charity which supports children with cancer.”

Melillo said seeing the whole Southern community and many outside organizations and businesses help to support the cause made the event even better.

“It’s especially cool to know that all the money raised came from so many everyday high school students looking to give a little bit back to the community,” he said. “This year, we even had the treat of inviting a family which benefits from Ocean of Love. A mother and her daughter came to the mic to thank everyone, and she was moved to tears. At that point, everyone had felt a deeper connection to what they were doing in the gym all night.”

In addition to Melillo, the Key Club officers who helped organize the event are Teeny Chirichillo, Capri Leone, Clare Adanatzian and Tim English, Dana Haig, Greg English and Bryce Reynolds. Beside Zdep, this year’s student council officers are Hannah Skimmons, Hannah Schwartz, Amy Chan, Steven Tarantola, Rhys Hagan and Brianna Krebs.

— David Biggy

(Photo by: Supplied photo)
Southern Regional student council and Key Club members reveal the amount raised for Ocean of Love during this year's 18-Hour Dance Marathon on March 17-18. (Photo by: Supplied photo)
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